Growing Quality Local Produce Responsibly
During the winter we tend to get a lot of questions like, “What do you do all winter long? This must be a pretty slow time of year for you, right?” Well the answer is, Yes, things do slow up for us some after we harvest our last apples in October until we dive into full-scale pruning in March, but we’ve still got plenty of projects that keep us busy. We’re not spending much of our time building snowmen and sipping hot tea by the fire.
There’s plenty of bookkeeping, maintenance work, and farm cleanup to catch up on that we just haven’t gotten to during our pruning, planting, harvesting, and marketing seasons. We also take this time to update our plans for the future and order our seeds and plants for next year. We’re updating our facilities to provide us with better service into the coming years. We also plan to attend the Practical Farmers of Iowa and Iowa Fruit and Vegetable Growers Association conferences later in January (practicalfarmers.org & www.ifvga.org). Mary and Vern already got to attend the Great Lakes Expo up in Grand Rapids, Michigan in December (www.glexpo.com). These are great opportunities to meet and network with other regional farmers that have crazy notions like we do of trying to expand the availability of fresh fruits and vegetables here in Iowa and across the Midwest. We try to learn what we can and put it to practical good use in the upcoming seasons. We often learn about new fruit and vegetable varieties, tips and tricks for improved production, and new tools and products that help us grow higher quality produce more efficiently for our markets.
However, that being said, we do get more time to spend with family and friends (both near and far) over the Holidays and winter months. Emma and Marcus just got back from a trip to Southern California where they visited Emma’s sister Carrie and brother Ben, as well as other friends in the area. It was quite a shock to get back to snow and sub-zero temperatures (and even lower wind-chills), but made for some much-needed R&R over Christmas. They helped boost morale at the ITZEN office one afternoon by stopping by for Tie Tuesday and donning the appropriate accessories. (*shameless plug that if you’re looking for architecture services in Southern California you should get in contact with them: www.itzen.com) We obviously have a little fun here and there over the winter as well.
So a warm and sincere “Happy Holidays!” from our family to yours! May 2015 bring many glad tidings and a wonderful world of produce to your table!